10 Tips How to Defend against a Non-Molestation Order (2022)
Updated: Feb 22
This guide provides 10 tips on how to defend yourself from a non-molestation injunction order in England made under Family Law Act Section 42.
Non-Molestation Orders are one of the most common forms of injunction issued by the court under family law, and if you’re facing one you’ll want to know what your options are in defending it.
This plain speaking guide will help you understand more about these orders, how they work, what to expect, and what to do next if you have been served with one.
Understand your legal rights to defend yourself
The Non Molestation Order, although seen as being quite drastic, is often used by ex spouses or even family members who feel they are being threatened with assault or other harm.
However, there are ways in which you can defend yourself and stay protected. Here are ten helpful tips that will help you understand your legal rights when it comes to defending yourself against non molestation orders.
1) Do I have a right to self defence?
It’s important for you to know that if someone has made an official complaint or application against you then it’s possible for them to be charged with making false allegations.
As such, it’s important for you not only to stand up for yourself but also know your legal rights when it comes defending yourself against false allegations.
This means knowing what constitutes self defence and ensuring that any actions taken are reasonable given the circumstances of each case. For example, if someone is threatening violence towards you then getting away from them would be reasonable while fighting back would not be considered reasonable self defence.
2) Do you know the full story?
The unfortunate truth is that it is possible for false allegations of domestic violence or child abuse to be made. While not common, the sad reality is that sometimes people do try and use Non-Molestation Orders as a weapon rather than for their intended purpose. Unfortunately there are some people who try to manipulate the legal system and use these injunctions without being in genuine fear of violence themselves.
Luckily, the law has ways of dealing with false allegations, which we will look at below.
The sad reality is that false allegations of domestic violence are much more common than many people think. Regrettably, even legal professionals can have little experience in spotting a fraudulent application for an injunction.
3) What can you do about it?
It is never okay for someone to make false allegations against another person, but there are steps you can take if your ex partner or spouse attempts to hurt you by making false accusations.
If they do decide to go down that route, remember that they are committing a crime and will be prosecuted if their behaviour amounts to harassment as defined by section 4 of The Protection From Harassment Act 1997.
4 & 5) Have you been abused? Have you been verbally threatened?
We have clients who are defending a Non Molestation order while having being abused themselves. Yes, you read it right. The abused have been victimised by misuse of law.
If you have, you may not just defend but also are able to get an NMO (Non-Molestation Order).
You cam speak with a local solicitor. your police department, or contact us here.
If you need assistance to defend or apply for the Non Molestation Order, contact us.
A Non- Molestation Order is a form of court order that can stop another person from contacting you or coming near your home. NMO’s are usually in place because one partner has been physically or verbally abusive. You do not need children together for one partner to seek an NMO against another partner.
The first thing to understand about Non Molestation Orders is that they are only granted when there is evidence of abuse.
6) Is there a pattern of behaviour?
Examine whether there is a pattern of behaviour that needs to be considered.
If there is any evidence that one spouse has physically or emotionally abused another, it is reasonable for an court to be concerned that further violence could occur.
Before granting a Non-Molestation Order, the court should consider all the facts and circumstances of each case.
This means they must look at things like:
(i) whether you have been violent towards your partner in the past
(ii) whether you have been violent towards other people in the past
(iii) whether your partner fears that you might become violent towards them in future
(iv) what relationship you have with your partner’s children
(v) where your partner lives.
If these are NOT true, then respond to the allegations one by one.
7) Document everything!
Any evidence, for example a video and audio of you, your spouse, or anyone else involved in a domestic dispute may be allowed as an evidence if you ever have to go to court.
If you think it’s strange that we advocate doing something so uncomfortable and scary, think again:
Studies show that abusers are twice as likely not only to get away with violence but also other illegal behaviour (like false sworn statements) when there’s no evidence.
So if you need to defend or you need an injunction for protection against domestic abuse you may like to consider to document everything, keep a safe diary (if and only if it is safe) let the doctors and police know what's going on. They’re much cheaper than getting into legal trouble down the road—and very easy to install.
8) Prepare your evidence properly
While you can request an injunction if there is evidence that your partner has abused or threatened you, it's important to be as thorough as possible in order to prepare for court.
Organize any text messages, voicemails or emails you may have received that demonstrate what is happening.
Be careful not only of direct threats; if they say something like "You never know what might happen", then write it down and give it to your lawyer if you have one.
It's not enough just to show that physical violence occurred in most cases -- it must be part of an ongoing pattern or threat, not just isolated incidents.
IF SAFE, In addition, gather as much evidence as possible about your partner's history of abuse and threats. That might include old police reports, photographs or letters. The more evidence you can provide your family law solicitor, or paralegal, such as video recordings or news articles that have been published about your partner's actions, the better.
Of course, it is possible for someone to make one very serious threat and not follow through with it. But if there are many incidents that suggest an ongoing pattern of behaviour -- such as repeated abuse or threats -- you can use this in your favour when you request a Non-Molestation Injunction.
IF SAFE, You should consider make copies of all your evidence and save them in multiple locations, such as an online cloud service. The risk of losing some or all of it is not insignificant, so it's important that you're prepared for anything.
IF SAFE, You should also keep copies of all your evidence in an online storage system, which are accessible preferably only by TWO FACTOR AUTHORISATION , such as Google Drive or Dropbox. That way you can access them from anywhere and won't have to worry about whether they're lost if something happens.
If possible, don't save any family law documents in cloud storage systems that do not use two-factor authentication or passwords -- those might not be secure enough for that sensitive information.
Be sure that only you and some other trusted individuals know where these files are located; remember, your partner could be watching your every move, so you don't want him or her to see where you've saved copies of your evidence.
In case of emergency always call the emergency help number 999
9) Allegation does not mean that you are proven guilty
It is important to remember that an allegation does not mean that you are proven guilty. It just means that there is enough evidence for proceedings to continue. The final judgment of guilt or innocence will be made by the court and if you are found guilty, sentencing will be decided at a later date.
If you have been charged with family violence it is important to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. In some cases, your lawyer can prevent charges being laid against you before they have any impact on your life; if charges have already been laid against you it may still be possible for your barrister (or yourself with our support) representation to get them dropped or significantly reduced through negotiation with prosecutors.
If you are convicted of family violence, you could face significant consequences. It is important that you obtain legal counsel as soon as possible and allow your attorney to mount a defence on your behalf. A criminal record could result in an inability to travel or live abroad, issues with custody and contact orders, and even difficulty finding employment. The impact of such an event can be long lasting, so it is critical that you take action immediately after charges have been laid against you. Depending on your circumstances, your attorney may be able to help by negotiating for a lesser charge or by convincing prosecutors not to proceed with charges at all.
10) Don't let the sad and angry emotions drown you down
The possibility of being forced by your partner or spouse to stay away from your kids is scary. It's especially intimidating if it's your first experience with legal troubles or family law. But try to remain calm, think logically and obtain some form of legal support (solicitor, or paralegal services that are offered by us) when possible.
And finally speak to us if you need help to go to court
If you are worried that an individual may apply for an injunction order against you, if they have already applied and it is pending in court or it has been issued or if you need to apply one, speak to us.
We are a Paralegal firm and we can support your case through the process. We can support you with preparing witness statements and collating any other evidence that you wish to submit, as well as attending court with you to support you.
We are highly rated Family Law Paralegals, available at low cost and can offer a competitive rate for representation.
Our areas of expertise include family law matters such as Divorce, Child Contact Orders and Protective Orders made under section 42 of The Children Act 1989 (as amended) through to Private Law Disputes and Civil Family Matters such as Child Arrangement Order Agreements.
We are reachable at 0737575750 and Help@incourt.co.uk
We have other article arrangements related to Non-Molestation orders that may be able to help you in this difficult times, these include:
This article is NOT legal advice and should NOT be treated as Legal advise
Seek legal advice if you believe an Ex Parte Non Molestation Order has been applied for against you or if you have any concerns about such an Order being made or if an Order has been made. If there is an Order in place, follow it. Breach of Orders can lead to imprisonment and/or fines. The purpose of these tips is not to advise people on whether they should apply for one but give them information as to what they can do if one is granted against them.